BWCA Back from the Q. Still super high water Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
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      Back from the Q. Still super high water     



distinguished member(2456)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/11/2022 06:46AM  
I put in at Nym.

Pickeral is still about two feet above ‘normal’
Sturgeon the same.

Chatterton Lake is like a flooded bathtub. It felt so bloated with water. Low islands completely submerged. I could paddle between the trees like in the Everglades. Chatterton is definitely a choke point for water. Way more coming in than can exit at Chatterton Falls. Which by the way is still a torrent of water into Russell.

I avoided the Bisk, Beg, Bud chain due to the possibility of swift/dangerous current. I also stayed away from the narrows/rapids out of Russell into Sturgeon and instead took the portage out of Russell.

There is a portage from McDougal into Cutty creek that you will not find unless you really hunt for it. The portage starts at the brush line and goes 200 feet through muskeg till you hit land. Except this is all under water so you really have to search for the portage entry. You know you are on it because there is submerged corduroy under 1.5’ of water. It is a very narrow path only wide enough to walk on.

Trip was great, best ever. No wind for days at a time. Portages are just muddy like usual not submerged. It’s dried out a bit lately in the woods. Felt busy up there due to southern entries closed everyone bottlenecked on the north end. I’m sure the quotas are booked. Still plenty of solitude.

I made it down to the fires. Some understory burning which the forest will thrive and some total burned out areas. Mostly down by Camel and a few parts of sturgeon. I didn’t get down to the severe burned areas.


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distinguished member(1133)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/11/2022 09:21AM  
Thanks for the helpful report Tom. Heading up tomorrow and forecast shows more rain. Sigh.

distinguished member (464)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/11/2022 10:21AM  
I remember doing that McDougall portage in 2001 but in reverse (coming into McDougall. The last 100 m was through a knee-high muddy bog. Thus, approaching that portage from McDougall even then would have been difficult to find.

In 2001 the water levels were significantly higher than July 2021. Below are two pics of the same location on Sturgeon Lake (site JC) twenty years apart (the second being a reprise of the one in 2001). The pic in 2001 was taken a day before we paddled to McDougall and through that portage.

In the 2001 photo there are three rocks on shore adjacent to the bush that barely crested the surface of the water. In 2021 they were almost completely exposed. I'm guessing 10-12 inches difference.

Just a snapshot of two years twenty years apart. I assume the levels were higher in 2001 in all lakes.

I was on McDougall in 2020 but entered and exited through Chatterton. So I never checked out that Cutty portage. But the water was visibly lower in 2021 than in 2020. Maybe that bog was dry and perhaps a clearly identifiable trail existed on the McDougall end?

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